- Publication date
- ca. 1952
- Public Domain
- Digitizing sponsor
Ken Smith notes: "Mel" is a hot-rodder who quickly conforms when he discovers the Santa Ana drag strip and the Lake El Mirage timing trials. These provide a "safe and constructive outlet," the narrator tells us, and help mitigate the "juvenile nuisance problem." "Trophies now instead of traffic tickets! He'll never speed on the highway again!" Real life wasn't really this simple....
Good shots of homemade hot rods and seat belts.
hot rod drag driver safety ticket police safety belt race racing california teenagers juvenile delinquency HOT RODS Automobiles Cars Auto racing
- 2002-07-16 00:00:00
- Closed captioning
- United States
- ca. 1952
- Run time
Subject: Mel Meets Dave and a Drag Strip
Anyway, Mel dumps his convertible for a rod hot that he (later with Dave and a buddy) get ready for the time trials at El Mirage.
The short starts with an overhead shot of the Buick on the road, likely shot on a platform in a truck ahead of it. There look to be a couple of studio shots where someone is shaking the Buick in front of a white canvas to make it look like it's on the road. Sid Davis cheese is good cheese.
Overall the short is well-filmed by George de Normand, who went on to be fired from a non-speaking role by director Fred DeCordova in the middle of filming the Fred McMurray wedding episode of "My Three Sons" (as reported by NEA's Dick Kleiner in Aug. 1969).
At the 0:30 mark, Mel and Thera are driving south along South Broadway past West Bishop. You'll see a house on the right with a gabled roof, a covered porch and a staircase to the right. The house is still there. Palm trees now line the streets. Mel drives past the same intersection again at 0:45, except the camera is looking west at the southeast corner. He drives over the same school warning twice.
Dig the wide seat belt at 8:30.
Mel wears a cap like a future Mel: Mel's Diner's Vic Tayback on the sitcom "Alice." Young Mel and his greased hair looks better in it.
There's plenty of MOS footage (sound effects are dubbed in) of races in the last five minutes of this short, designed to speed-loving young people off the street and onto the well-regulated strip.
Narrator Hugh Douglas worked at KNX and was once named "Voice of California." Whether it's the same guy, I don't know, but a Melvin Potts later became a fireman in Monrovia. Dave isn't credited in the picture.
Subject: A fun look back
Subject: Good for 1952
Subject: The old days of hot rodding brought to life
There are a few minor life lessons as well: realizing two heads are better than one, comraderie will take you farther than lone wolfing it, and why spend money on a girlfriend when you can work on your car (just joking).
Subject: 2 Fast 2 Flakey
Subject: Street racing comes full-circle.
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